Category Archives: Environment

Victory! Turtle Power Rules!

blandings-on-forest-floorWhite Pines Wind (WPD) proposed to be located on the shores of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County has been dealt a severe blow by the Environmental Review Tribunal. The decision from the “remedies hearing”  dealt with issues surrounding the findings of the Tribunal that serious and irreversible harm to the environment to the endangered Blanding’s Turtles, Little Brown Bat and other species at risk would result from the project’s activities.  WPD never the less began land clearing construction in sensitive wetland habitats and continued just days prior to the ruling being rendered.

Photos via APPEC

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Removal of 18 of 29 turbines leaves lingering questions if the wind project remains financially viable.  The residents of Prince Edward County and world wide can only hope that this is a final and fatal blow to the White Pine Wind that will result in halting the invasion of industrial wind turbine generators.

DECISION
[166] Under s. 145.2.1(4)(c) of the EPA, the Tribunal alters the decision of the Director by amending Renewable Energy Approval No. 2344-9R6RWR as follows:
1. Adding the following conditions to the REA:
i. Condition J7.1. The Company shall implement the Mitigation Plan for Operation of the White Pines Energy Project, dated July 21, 2016 prepared by Stantec Consulting Ltd., including:
1. Implement the monitoring and mitigation measures as
outlined in Table 2 of the Mitigation Plan;
2. Adjust cut-in speed to 5.5 m/s between sunset and sunrise
from May 1 to September 30 at all turbines for the operating
life of the Project; and
3. In the event of a mortality of a bat species that is a species
at risk, successively increase the operational mitigation as
detailed in Table 2 of the Mitigation Plan.
ii. Condition L2. Further, the Company shall implement the additional
avoidance and mitigation measures as outlined in the report
“Additional Avoidance and Mitigation Measures to Minimize
Potential Impacts to Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)”,
prepared by Natural Resources Solutions Inc., dated July 22, 2016,
65 15-068
including implementation of the mitigation measures described in Tables 2-1 to 2-5 and 4-1 of that report.
2. Removing from the REA the turbines proposed to be accessed by upgraded municipal secondary and tertiary road segments and intersections in Blanding’s turtle habitat, as identified in Figure 2.2 of the report “Additional Avoidance and Mitigation Measures to Minimize Potential Impacts to Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)”, prepared
by Natural Resources Solutions Inc., dated July 22, 2016, specifically Turbines 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29.
Renewable Energy Approval Altered

15-068 HIRSCH V. ONTARIO (MOECC)

The WPD White Pines Wind decision can be read here:

15-071 WPD WHITE PINES WIND INC. V ONTARIO (MOECC)

White Pines Wind (WPD)

Turbines 12, 13, 14, 15,16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 are removed from  the project.

white pines wind

 

 

 

8 years later, nothing has changed.

windTurbineSyndrome1-814x400

ontario wind turbines

 

The following is a letter to the Standing Committee on the Green Energy and Economy Act in back in April, 2009. It could have been written a month ago. Clearly the “Economy” target of the Liberals Act took precedence over health and safety as billions have been funneled out of the tax coffers to the owners of these projects. Thousands of complaints have been suppressed. Untold number of families have been impacted. Most irreparably.

“The windmills started up at the end of November/early December 2008 and it was only after they started them up full time that we started having problems. They were so loud we could not sleep. It was aggravating and exhausting. The one closest to us is 456 metres behind us to the west and the next is just less than 700 metres to the east. We can hear them equally well and they cause terrible noise…

View original post 2,253 more words

Deep ‘Green’ Hypocrisy: Wind Power Cult Happily Ignores Bird and Bat Blood Bath

“This brings us to indefatigable wind warrior Esther Wrightman, an Ontario wind turbine refugee who fled to New Brunswick. Last year she filed a Freedom of Information request (FOI) with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in order to obtain the wind industry’s mandatory bird and bat mortality reports. In January she finally received “loads” of them, for a hefty fee. The mortality numbers are disturbing. Esther writes:

As the bird and bat mortality reports are slowly uncovered, the numbers just seem to get worse and worse. I never imagined it could get this low, but then again nobody was releasing this info to the public, so how were we to know?”

eagle-nest

Source: Deep ‘Green’ Hypocrisy: Wind Power Cult Happily Ignores Bird and Bat Blood Bath

Origins & migratory patterns of bats killed by wind turbines in southern Alberta

alberta wind

Origins and migratory patterns of bats killed by wind turbines in southern Alberta: evidence from stable isotopes

Author:  Baerwald, Erin Baerwald, Erin;Patterson, Bill Patterson, Bill; and Barclay, Robert Barclay, Robert

Abstract: Large numbers of migratory bats are killed every autumn at wind energy facilities in North America. While this may be troubling from a population perspective, these fatalities provide an opportunity to learn more about bat migration and the origins and summer distributions of migratory bats by using endogenous markers. Such markers include stable isotope values, which have been used to answer questions about ecological systems, such as trophic levels and food webs, and the origins and migratory routes of animals. To estimate the origins of migratory bats, we determined nitrogen (δ¹⁵N), carbon (δ¹³C), and hydrogen (δ²H) stable isotope values of fur (δ¹⁵Nf, δ¹³Cf, δ²Hf, respectively) from hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus) and silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) killed at a wind energy facility in southern Alberta, Canada. We determined that mean isotope values varied among species, year, sex, and age class. δ¹³Cf and δ²Hf values indicated that silver-haired bats likely originated in the boreal forest, farther north and/or at higher elevations than the aspen parkland-like habitat suggested by the isotope values of hoary bats. IsoMAP analysis indicated that bat fatalities may have originated from a large catchment area potentially hundreds of kilometers away. Our data provide further evidence for a migration route along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains that is used by bats from across Alberta and beyond, and suggest that fatalities at a single wind energy site have the potential to have far-reaching ecological and population consequences.

E. F. BAERWALD, W. P. PATTERSON, and R. M. R. BARCLAY

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Saskatchewan Isotope Laboratory, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Ecosphere 5(9):118. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/ES13-00380.1

Download original document: “Origins and migratory patterns of bats killed by wind turbines in southern Alberta: evidence from stable isotopes”

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

Source: National Wind Watch

PHOTO BELOW: University of Calgary bat researchers Cori Lausen, left, and Erin Baerwald, perform a bat carcass search at a wind energy site in Southern Alberta.

READ MEDIA ARTICLE: Bat deaths at wind farms need more study, expert says SHEILA PRATT, EDMONTON JOURNAL 11.19.2014

bat alberta edmonton.jpg
Researchers from Calgary University

 

 

 

Judicial Review of White Pines Wind

The judicial review of the White Pines cultural heritage process, brought by Liz Driver and Edwin Rowse against wpd Canada and Ontario, will take place on Thursday and Friday, April 6–7, at Osgoode Hall, in Toronto. The hearing begins at 10 am each day.

It will be important to show the court that the community cares about the project’s visual impacts and construction vibrations on the County’s cultural heritage.

Osgoode Hall is at the northeast corner of Queen and University. There is Green P parking underground next door at City Hall or parking across the street under the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Osgoode Subway Station is at the intersection.

More Information:  CCSAGE NATURALLY GREEN (“CCSAGE”)

White Pines Wind Project

osgoode hall
Osgoode Hall  

COMPLETE A FINANCIAL AUDIT OF THE AMHERST ISLAND WIND PROJECT

snowy-owlIMMEDIATE RELEASE

STELLA- March 23, 2017  

Following the Ontario Energy Minister’s statement that there is a robust supply of energy for decades to come, the Association to Protect Amherst Island  (APAI) called on the Provincial Auditor-General, Bonnie Lysyk, to examine why the provincial Liberal Government is not exercising its right to terminate an expired wind turbine contract signed in February 2011 and save the Ontario taxpayers more than $500MM over the next 20 years. Windlectric, a subsidiary of Algonquin Power and Utilities Corporation, continues with plans to build a 75 MW wind project on Amherst Island that would produce unnecessary and expensive electricity costing  $140 per MWh.

Although Premier Wynne admitted that the “green energy” policy is a mistake and that the electricity rates were too high, the Association’s numerous attempts to have the project terminated have been ignored.  Michèle Le Lay, APAI President, questioned the Liberal Government’s logic: “Why is the Government proceeding with the industrialization and the destruction of the natural and cultural heritage of a community, allowing twenty-six, 50-storey-tall wind turbines to be built in bird and bat migratory routes, endangering at-risk species’ habitats and at the same time, risking the health and safety of the people who live there for unneeded, costly energy?”

She explained that: “Right across the channel from the Island, the Lennox and Addington Gas Plant operates at less than 3% capacity and the new Napanee Generating Station being built right beside it is slated to operate at about 30% capacity.  Even worse, in early 2017, the Ministry of Energy forced the closure of Northland Power Generation Station (across from the Island) that offered to provide electricity to the grid for $59 per MWh. Something is not right about all of this”. She added : “The Liberal Government could save the Ontario taxpayers and electricity consumers between $400- and $600-million dollars over 20 years by cancelling the Windlectric contract”.

“Ontario taxpayers could use a break on their electricity bills.  Why pour more money into the pockets of a large utility at taxpayers’ and electricity consumers’ expense?” said Mayo Underwood, a resident of the Island.

A formal letter has been sent to the Auditor-General of Ontario seeking a financial investigation on why the Ontario Government refuses to terminate an expired wind turbine contract and agrees to pay for the next 20 years a wind company the highest rate ever ($140 MWh estimated average rate) for unneeded electricity.

 

Contact(s):  Michèle Le Lay (613) 929-2979  or  protectai@kos.net

Protect Amherst Island 

 

Who Pays for killing the Eagles?

eagle soaringSouthern Ontario has 4 publicly known (to date ) eagle deaths caused by wind turbines.  READ:  NextEra freely handed permit to destroy Bald Eagle nest: FOI records

Internationally deaths of the iconic raptors by wind projects remains an ongoing environmental horror story.  The writer in the  letter below asks questions about the deference granted to wind facilities who are in essence given licence to kill unlike any other industry.

Emmetsburg NewsMarch 21, 2017

To the Editor:

If wind turbines are subject to wildlife areas, what happens if an eagle is hit and killed or wounded by a wind turbine? Eagles are an endangered bird and are protected by the Federal Gov. law. I read on the internet, the first offense is a $5000 fine and or one year in jail. Second time it is $10000 fine and two years in jail. Third time, if that is a felony, the fine is $250000 and jail time. Now, question is, who is to blame for the death or wounding of the eagle? Remember this is a federal crime if one is killed or wounded according to the message on the internet. Who would pay the damages or the jail time? Would it be the wind turbine company, the land owner, or would it be the county supervisors who made this decision on their own to allow the wind companies to come in by rezoning, or would it be all three?

(signed)?Tillford Egland

Cylinder, IA (USA)

Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility: Wrong from the start

ocotillo nightThe Lesson: This project was a disaster from the beginning. Speed and greed are a recipe for environmental, economic, and social failures. Applications for future wind developments must learn from this experience and be much, much more diligent and responsible in their planning and execution.

Desert Report March 2017 – Parke and Linda Ewing

The Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility (OWEF)1 is an utility scale project placed on 12,436 acres near Ocotillo, California, of which 10,151 acres are public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Let’s not forget the towns of Ocotillo and NoMirage. Not huge towns, but home to 266 residents who chose the solitude, the quietness, and the beauty of the ever-changing seasons. Much of this beauty, along with the ecosystem, has been sacrificed.

This wind energy facility now consists of 112 Siemens 2.3-108 MW Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT), which means each IWT was rated to produce 2.3 Megawatts (MW), and the blade swept area is 108 meters in diameter (354.331’). At a later date, the rating was increased to 2.7 MW per tower, very likely to meet the minimum installed capacity required by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) if San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is to meet their mandated renewable energy requirements.

The nacelle, which houses moving and support components such as the gearbox, generator, and main shaft, sits on top of a round tapered steel tower 80m (262.467’) above the ground. The 173’ long blades are held in place at a hub which is attached to the end of the nacelle. The total height of the wind turbine when a blade is in the 12 o’clock position is about 438’. The base of the tower is 15’ in diameter and houses the inverter and control equipment. Two cooling fans are placed outside of the base under the entry stairway, and the transformer is placed on the ground next to the base. More data can be found at Wikipedia2 and at the Siemens’ link3. All these links are posted in the “Notes” section online at http://www.desertreport.org.

ocotilloPublic Involvement

How did this happen? Initially, when we first heard about this project, we were told by Pattern Energy officials and by project documentation that we, the residents, would not be impacted by the turbine facility because it would be located five miles away from the Ocotillo Community. Five miles? That’s an acceptable distance. My wife and I now have turbines that reside one-half a mile from our house and with most less than one mile from the community on all sides.

There were so many maps presented during the different meetings with the various Imperial County departments that confusion ran rampant when someone asked which map represented the location of the turbines for this project. During a scoping meeting, a meeting designed to gain input from every single entity, person, department, or facility that may be impacted by this project, the residents were not allowed to speak. Instead, we were instructed to write our questions on a post card, and they would be addressed at a later time. When?

Ground Disturbances

Now let’s talk about the turbine access roads. Initial discussions and documentation indicated that these roads would be thirty-six feet wide and then narrowed to sixteen feet once the project was complete. In addition there would be an additional fifteen feet on either one side or both sides for the electrical collection lines from each turbine. Some roads ended up being up to 113 feet wide. The disturbance caused to Native American sites and to wildlife has been recorded many times4.5.

Many homeowners have felt the need to purchase flood insurance, in the middle of the desert. Residents feel that Pattern Energy was allowed to change the drainage patterns that will affect the alluvial fans, causing flooding by diversion of rain runoff. Construction of forty-two miles of access roads and an additional eighty-two miles of collection lines has stripped the water absorbing desert crust, creating the potential for flooding in areas that have been safe in past years.

Initial Wind Estimates

The next indiscretion that made itself Somewhere on this map is a community now surrounded by industrial project. known were the wind values. The wind values were incorrectly stated – records were from the Desert View Tower located ten miles up the Interstate Highway grade from Ocotillo and approximately another 2500 feet higher than the desert valley where the project is located. How were they allowed to use those numbers? Three years of data have shown that these turbines are not generating the power that was projected.

Production Shortfall

During the permitting process, differing estimate were given for the energy production of the facility depending upon who made the estimate and for whom they were intended. Ultimately Patten Energy stated that the OWEF would have a capacity factor of 34% (meaning that over time it would produce 34% of its maximum rated output at full sunlight) and that it would produce 2673 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy in its first three years. In fact, the actual capacity factor during this period was 21%, and the total energy produced was 1438 GWh, far below the projected figures. This was in spite of receiving $115,890,946 dollars from the Department of Energy’s 1603 Cash Grant Program6 in lieu of the Production Tax Credits and $110,000,000 from the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission7.

During the BLM scoping period for the project, many comments were submitted. The majority of these were in opposition to the OWEF. Comments that favored the facility were mostly based on the jobs and economic benefits that the facility would provide. A small minority of the comments favored the facility because of the sustainable renewable energy benefits. Those claims were based on the “Installed Capacity,” which is the maximum power which the facility can generate at full daytime sunlight, and an expected capacity factor of 34%. Ocotillo Wind, as stated previously, has fallen far short of predictions.

Current electricity generation for the residents of California relies on a mix of energy production technologies including: coal (7.7%), natural gas (41.9%), nuclear (13.9%), other renewables (13.7%), hydroelectric (10.8%), and others (12.0%). Based on nearly 204,000 GWh of net power generation in California in 2010, the average annual production of 479 GWh by the Ocotillo facility represents only 0.2 percent of California’s total. It is reasonable to wonder if the negative consequences of the project can be justified by this small contribution.

Mechanical failures

The OWEF has been plagued by mechanical problems. On May 16, 2013, a 173’ long wind turbine blade was thrown off of Turbine 156. The cause was determined to be a fiberglass root segment curing problem. Ten wind turbine blades were ultimately replaced at Ocotillo Wind. Many people familiar with the facility believe that the blade problem was due to the “fast tracking” of the facility to enable Ocotillo Express LLC to complete the project by the end of 2012, so they could qualify for the 1603 Cash Grant offered by the Department of Energy.

On January 15, 2015, Turbine 110 had a major fire. The cause of the fire was never revealed. The entire turbine was eventually replaced. The turbine did not generate power for nine months.

On November 21, 2016, Turbine 126 collapsed entirely. It was later confirmed to have been caused by a turbine blade striking the side of the tower. According to the Ocotillo Wind website, a shear stiffener inside of the blade was found to have failed. The Ocotillo Wind website8 stated that the turbine actually collapsed “in the Designated Safe Zone.” There are easily twelve wind turbine sites where BLM designated trails fall within that so-called designated safe zone. Potentially, a person could be killed under any of the Ocotillo Wind Turbines since the entire area is open to
the public.

The OWEF has been plagued with oil leaks. The residents of Ocotillo have counted over seventy turbines with oil leaks at towers and countless hydraulic oil leaks on the blades, many of them considered to be significant by the Imperial County Environmental Task Force. Additionally failures of yaw drives (which orient the blades into the wind) have caused problems. Eight gearboxes have been replaced since the facility became 100% operational along with hundreds of yaw drives.

ocitillo 1013925_544090075648796_475568349_n1Visual Blight

The bright red blinking lights of Ocotillo Wind are required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and can be seen from the southern portion of the Salton Sea, over seventy miles away. Nobody lives in the desert to view wind turbine lights blinking in unison all night long. Pattern Energy promised the community a lighting control system which would be radar activated only when aircraft were present. The Laufer System9 was approved by the FAA in January of 2016. Pattern constructed the whole first phase of Ocotillo Wind consisting of ninety-four turbines in a record 6 1/2 months, but it has been over a year, and the very irritating red lights still shine.

Death in the Airocitillo-1-1038x576.png

Many birds have been struck by the wind turbine blades, and bats lungs have exploded as they fly near the turbines. A carcass survey between 10/05/14 and 09/22/15, obtained by a FOIA request, indicated that sixty-nine birds and bats were found on the agreed upon survey sites, under or near the wind turbines. Every wind turbine site on the facility was not searched every day. We can assume that scavengers consumed many of the carcasses prior to the survey. Bird kills don’t appear to be a huge problem in Ocotillo, but we all hate the killing of any wildlife.

The once numerous Red Tailed Hawks have disappeared. Were they killed by spinning wind turbine blades? There were once so many jackrabbits that it was overwhelming. Now there are no jackrabbits, and the coyotes have also disappeared completely. The last time we saw one, it was skinny and sickly looking, almost certainly for lack of food. The ecosystem is gone.

The Lesson

This project was a disaster from the beginning. Speed and greed are a recipe for environmental, economic, and social failures. Applications for future wind developments must learn from this experience and be much, much more diligent and responsible in their planning and execution.

Desert Report Spring 2017:

There is good money and there is bad

siemens-indiana-672x372To the Editor:

The proposed industrial wind turbine “farm” is not welcomed by the majority of the people. It will inhibit our view of the sky, cause health problems for people and animals, and cost this community, and surrounding communities a fortune in lost property values and revenue.

At a recent town hall meeting in Hopkinton, one of the contract holders stated, “Where is National Grid based?” This was in response to the issue of Iberdrola being out of Spain. Well, this was the most pathetic attempt at drawing a parallel that I’ve heard, so far.

Dear Mr. Contract Holder, National Grid does not require me to erect anything on my property that robs my neighbors of their health and property values. National Grid does not sneak into our community, like a snake in the grass, to pit me against my neighbors to further their subsidy mining. National Grid is providing a necessary evil, I’d love to be off grid.

I could go on, but I want to tell you about the woman who spoke before him. She stood up to tell us how she needed this contract to pay her taxes. Her tax burden was too heavy. She went on to talk about how the house across the road from her had been on the market for three years and hadn’t sold.

Maybe it’s because her property, directly across the road is contracted to house industrial wind turbines? And that’s part of disclosure to potential buyers. Could she possibly have her Iberdrola blinders on too tight? There are a lot of elderly people in our community. They will be passing on, who’s going to buy their properties with industrial wind turbines hulking over them? And you, Mr. and Mrs. contract holder, what if no one wants to buy or inherit your property when you pass on. God willing, my husband and I will be alive for another 50 years or more.

We don’t want to deal with your shortsightedness. Some of you are very near the end of your lives, at least statistically. When you’re gone, people will either lament your passing, or want to forget what you did to our community. Will your families want to be associated with the so and so’s of Hopkinton/Parishville, who destroyed the quality of life for an entire community, to make a buck?

Finally I’d like to state that we don’t hate people for their mistakes, and implore the same from you. If you’re a contract holder, you have most assuredly made a mistake. Iberdrola is a $44 billion company. Blindsided, you were no match for them. It’s a mistake we may have made, if we were in your shoes. We have seven children, five still living at home. Money is important, and fun! But there’s good money and bad money.

Whether God allows this project to come to completion or not, all of us need to put our differences on this matter aside and rise above the mess that Iberdrola has brought to our community.

Jim and Angela Spear

Parishville, New York

Published- North County NowMarch 16, 2017:  http://northcountrynow.com/letters/opinion-put-differences-aside-wind-tower-matter-say-parishville-couple-0194077

Bat remedy hearing concludes

brown-bat

Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson demands to know why wind power developers get a remedy hearing on endangered bats when harm has been proven. Minister Murray replied he would have to resign if he intervenes in the independence of the Environmental Tribunal process but it is the Green Energy Act that allows wind projects to be approved. Under the Green Energy Act the Minister has authority to intervene.  The Minister to resign over the harm caused by wind projects?  What an interesting idea!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Turbine Hearing Concludes

Collingwood | by Catherine Thompson  

yet more submissions in long-running case

A hearing to do with a wind turbine proposal near Stayner took one day instead of three.

The Environmental Review Tribunal allowed WPD Canada to have a Remedy Hearing to present ways to reduce harm to natural heritage, mainly the Little Brown Bat.

The hearing, held in Collingwood council chambers, was originally to start on Monday, but that day was cancelled because a witness was unavailable. The hearing, on Tuesday, heard from three witnesses.

Dr. Scott Reynolds, presenting for WPD Canada, via Skype, says they would slow down the turbine speed when bats are in the air in an effort to decrease the number of bat deaths.

The second witness, Susan Holroyd, a wildlife biologist specializing in bats, appeared by Skype, on the appellant, Preserve Clearview’s side.

The third and last witness was Ecologist Sarah Mainguy, also for the opponent’s side. She told the hearing there are huge uncertainties in this application such as the number of bats and their exact route in the areas of the turbines. She added that the mitigation suggestions from WPD Canada are not good enough.

Witnesses and lawyers could not comment on the hearing proceedings, but Chuck Magwood of Preserve Clearview, was in the audience.  He says he agrees with their witnesses that one dead Little Brown Bat, which is an endangered species, is too many.

WPD has until March 31st to make written submissions, the opponents have four weeks to reply and then another two weeks for WPD to rebut the reply, taking the latest round in the turbine discussions to May 12th.

Magwood says he expects a decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal in June.

READ AT: http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=91434